PITTSBURGH — Devlin Hodges in. Mason Rudolph out.

At least for now.

Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin tabbed Hodges as the starting quarterback for Sunday’s pivotal meeting with Cleveland at Heinz Field, though Tomlin cautioned against reading too much into the move.

“We’re singularly focused on winning this game, of putting ourselves in position to win this game,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “That’s where the decision lies. We’ll see where we are after this game. Really, we have no intended plans beyond this one.”

Given the chaotic nature of the position this season for the Steelers (6-5), that’s probably wise.

Hodges came on in relief of an ineffective Rudolph in the second half against Cincinnati, throwing for a momentum-shifting 79-yard touchdown pass to James Washington on his third snap that gave Pittsburgh the lead for good.

The undrafted rookie free agent was so-so otherwise – finishing 5 of 11 for 118 yards and the score – but he avoided mistakes and provided an emotional jolt that helped the Steelers stay in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

“He took care of the ball and provided a spark,” Tomlin said. “So we just thought it was reasonable as we prepare this week to allow him to continue to do that. It means nothing about our intended plans for the foreseeable future or the trajectory of Mason’s career or what have you.”

Rudolph took over in Week 2 when Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the season because of a right elbow injury and became just the eighth player since 1970 to throw at least one touchdown in his first eight career appearances but has stumbled in recent weeks. He threw four interceptions in an ugly loss to Cleveland on Nov. 14 – a game that ended with Rudolph getting into a now infamous fight with Browns defensive end Myles Garrett that ended with Garrett hitting Rudolph in the head with the quarterback’s own helmet – and tossed another pick at the goal line in Cincinnati in the first half that ended a scoring threat.

HALL OF FAME: Safety Troy Polamalu, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and linebacker Patrick Willis are first-year eligible players among the 25 semifinalists of the modern era for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also on the list, which will be cut to 15 on Jan. 2, are previous finalists Richard Seymour, John Lynch, Steve Atwater, Tony Boselli, Steve Hutchinson, Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James and Alan Faneca.

Five former players will be elected to the class of 2020 on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl. They will be inducted into the Canton, Ohio, shrine in August.

The hall also will induct 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches in a special centennial class in 2020.

There are 14 defensive players, 10 on offense, and one special-teamer, Steve Tasker, who also played wide receiver for Buffalo.

LIONS: Potentially in dire straits at quarterback for their Thanksgiving Day game against the Bears, Detroit wanted to bring back Josh Johnson, the veteran quarterback spent part of the preseason with Detroit and showed last year with Washington that he could come in on short notice and provide a spark.

But Johnson recently signed with the XFL. And, according to ESPN , the fledgling league apparently isn’t letting him go,  reporting that the Lions had an “interest in signing” Johnson but the XFL “blocked them.”

Lions Coach Matt Patricia said he was “not really sure the details of what happened with that,” adding that Johnson “was just someone that was here that knew the system that we had some familiarity with, so we were just kind of doing our due diligence there.”

FALCONS: Running back Devonta Freeman has returned to practice for the first time since suffering a sprained foot, while wide receiver Julio Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury in Atlanta’s loss to Tampa Bay last week, did not participate.

Freeman has missed two games since suffering the injury in a win at New Orleans on Nov. 10. With backup running back Ito Smith on injured reserve, Atlanta’s running game has struggled without Freeman.

Tight ends Austin Hooper (knee) and Luke Stocker (back) also did not practice for the Falcons, who play the Saints on Thursday night.

TITANS: Tennessee placed five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Cameron Wake on injured reserve after the 37-year-old veteran was hurt late in their win over the Jaguars. Wake signed a three-year contract in March. He had 2½ sacks in the opening win over Cleveland, giving him 100½ for his career. Wake played in nine games this season.

The Titans also placed defensive back Chris Milton on injured reserve.

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